Holyfield to fight on
Report by Andreas Hale
Photos by Mary Ann Owen / BoxinginLasVegas.com
Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield said he would again become world champion. He fulfilled that promise by stopping World Boxing Federation champion Frans Botha in front of just over 3,000 cheering fans at the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, NV.
It certainly wasn’t pretty, but for Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield his TKO victory over Botha not only earned him the WBF title, it also meant that Holyfield’s boxing career isn’t quite over yet.
An overhand right collapsed Botha (47-5-3) to the canvas early in the eighth round and moments later Holyfield forced referee Russell Mora to stop the fight at :55 seconds. With the victory, Holyfield improves to 43-10-2 and earned his 28th knockout.
During the post-fight press conference, Botha didn’t appear to feel bad about losing to the former champion.
“It’s been an honor for me to be here and fight against a great champ like Evander Holyfield,” Botha said during the post-fight presser. “Evander is a true warrior. He landed the shots. He capitalized on my mistakes. I don’t feel ashamed losing to a great champion.”
Botha would even go as far to say that Holyfield has a shot at uniting the titles.
“He’s a true champion. We’re going to see a lot of him. He’s got the skill, power and determination all he needs to opportunity,” the South African exclaimed.
In the weeks leading up to the fight, many boxing skeptics were weary of Holyfield getting back into the ring as a 47-year-old man. Multiple critics voiced their displeasure but the former champion silenced his critics with the TKO victory.
“When people talk it does affect me,” Holyfield revealed. “When someone calls you old and says you’re senile it does have an effect on me even though I don’t show it. The most important thing is my faith that I have in God allowed me to close my ears and keep pressing forward. I’ve been telling everyone since 1992 I would be undisputed champ.”
Taking the first step by defeating Botha, Holyfield made it clear that he’s not done fighting just yet. His quest to be undisputed champion will most certainly continue.
“The only thing I ever wanted to be is the undisputed Heavyweight champion again,” said the man who has defeated Mike Tyson, Michael Moorer, Riddick Bowe, George Foreman and Larry Holmes. “I’m happy Botha gave me the opportunity again. When people talk about my legacy it’s who I fought. People can’t deny who I am. I fight the best. I want to fight the fights that I’ll get a little credit if I win. This is not it for me. When I decided I was going to come back I’m not the type of guy who says I’m one of the best. I want to be the best.”
In a shallow Heavyweight division, Holyfield just may have a shot.